An investment banking career, such as this at this institution, is a job that requires more than just a good education. It requires ambition, organization, perseverance, people skills, and much more.
Not only does this job require a solid finance background, but it can also be extremely time-consuming. The workweek is long and can often involve late nights, especially when a deal closes.
All that said, there are many reasons why investment bankers are drawn to this profession. The career combines many skills in a challenging and interesting way. Some people choose to work in investment banking because they want to help with transformational deals. Others join because it offers a pathway to private equity. And some choose it as a launchpad for other types of careers.
Of course, it takes more than just a passion for the finance world to succeed in investment banking. Top-notch personal and strategic skills are imperative and can help you stand out in the competitive industry.
Here are some insights and suggestions to help the next generation succeed in this industry.
Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open
Sure, you may have attended a top university and taken all the required finance and economic courses required for the industry. But it’s a mistake to think you know everything required for this type of career. Instead, go into the job with the understanding that you need to learn more, pay attention to client needs, and learn from your peers. In fact, it’s critical that investment bankers be able to comprehend the needs of their clients. It is important to understand the significance of the deal. What is at stake? What impact will it have on the industry segment? Learn from each step along the way, and always be open to absorbing as much knowledge as possible.
Master Your Organizational Skills
It is important to know how to manage your time. While it is important to get formal training and education in the finance field, the best skills for success in life are those you develop in the real world.
When you start a career as an investment banker, task prioritization can be a challenging responsibility. Meeting tight deadlines can be another obstacle for newcomers to this field. To avoid making mistakes and stay on top of your work, it is important to be hyper-organized. If you’re not, important details and tasks are likely to fall through the cracks, and that’s not something you can afford in this cut-throat field.
Stay on Top of Technology
Technology plays an integral role in today’s digital age. Investment banking is no different. You can organize your time using the most recent apps, trends, and new tools to help you succeed in business.
Junior-level investment bankers will likely use Microsoft Excel (for financial models, valuations and other work), Word (for M&A offer memos) or PowerPoint (for slide shows like pitch books). The internet or specialized tools like Bloomberg terminals are used by bankers to access financial information on companies and various financial news sources to obtain stock prices, updated news, and other data. Smartphones can be used almost constantly to stay connected to email and other phone communications. We can’t forget about the calculator that does quick math during meetings.
Learn to Balance
It can be daunting to start a career as an investment banker. Long hours and high stress can take its toll on anyone. So it’s imperative that you practice self-care to avoid burnout. Find little things you enjoy about your job and make them a part of your routine. Stress management can be as simple as taking the time to enjoy activities outside of work. You will be a better person and stronger worker if you invest in yourself.
Network, Network, Network
No, these days networking entails much more than just collecting business cards or filling your contact book with people you believe will help your career. You should take the time to build authentic relationships and show — and feel— interest in others you meet.
Don’t neglect your peers. These individuals are a great group to network with as you progress. Networking isn’t something you do early on in your career and then stop. It’s something you do throughout your career to learn, grow and climb to newer opportunities.